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by David Phelps

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” - Mother Teresa

October, 2012

In the motion picture “Minority Report,” based on the science fiction story by Philip K. Dick, Captain John Anderton (actor Tom Cruise) is the head of the Washington, D.C., PreCrime police force. The unit uses psychics, known as “precogs,” to predict murders that haven’t happened yet. They then arrest the would-be murderers and prevent their crimes.

Everything is going well until Anderton is himself accused of the future murder of a man named Leo Crow. Anderton goes on the run, pursued by a man named Danny Witwer from the Department of Justice. Anderton discovers that there are three “precogs” and that their predictions don’t always match. The one that doesn’t match is labeled the “minority report” and discarded. Anderton attempts to arrest Crow but Crow grabs his gun and is killed in the resulting struggle. Witwer realizes there has been no “murder,” just a tragic accident.

Witwer reports his findings to Anderton’s boss, Lamar Burgess, who then kills Witwer and frames Anderton for that murder. Anderton is eventually able to prove his innocence and Burgess’ guilt. The PreCrime force is shut down and the “murderers” imprisoned because of it are set free.

This story is reminiscent (at least to me) of the story of the prophet Micaiah in the Bible (1 Kings 22:1-40; 2 Chr. 18:1-34). Micaiah is not a well-known Bible figure. He only appears twice in the whole Bible and those are different versions of the same story. Talk about a “minor prophet”! His name means “who is like God.” He doesn’t have a “book” of the Bible named after him, like Isaiah, Ezekiel, or Jeremiah but he is still a prophet.

King Ahab of Israel wanted to go to war against Ramoth-gilead. There was an alliance between Israel and Judah at that time so Ahab asked Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, to go to war with him. But Jehoshaphat said, “‘Inquire first for the word of the Lord.’” (1 Kings 22:5b ESV). Ahab called for his “tame” prophets—four hundred of them—and they all promised glory and easy victory (vs. 6, 10-12). He had surrounded himself with “prophets” who would tell him whatever he wanted to hear. Jehoshaphat must have “smelled a rat” because he asked “‘Is there not here another prophet of the Lord of whom we may inquire?’” (vs. 6b ESV). Ahab replied, “‘There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.’” (vs. 8b ESV). Micaiah was summoned with instructions to “‘Let your word be like the word of one of them [the other prophets], and speak favorably.’” (vs. 13b ESV). But instead, he predicted that Ahab would be killed in battle (vs. 17, 19-23). Ahab went into battle in disguise but an arrow pierced his armor. His body was propped up in his chariot and he died at sunset.

Talk about a “minority report!” Micaiah alone of all the prophets—four hundred of them but only one of him—told Ahab what he didn’t want to hear, that his plan was doomed to fail. Ahab had Micaiah placed in prison for speaking the truth (vs. 26). We don’t know what would have happened to Micaiah if Ahab had survived but we can be sure it wouldn’t have been pleasant. But God was with Micaiah. After Ahab died, his son, Ahaziah, became king in his place (vs. 40) but we don’t know what became of Micaiah; he is never heard from again.

The late writer and editor Christopher Morley once wrote, “Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, everyday, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.” Those of us who are Christians are constantly asked to do “silly” things: Turn the other cheek? Go the second mile? Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you? What kind of silly ideas are those? Certainly not ideas any sane person would follow. Yet they are the heart of our response to the gospel. In the movie, the “minority report” was ignored. Micaiah’s “minority report” was ignored as well. There are myriad voices speaking today but the voice of God must be the one people hear. We are not all prophets but we are all called to speak out. Our “minority report” might be ignored but we are called to do it anyway. Someone, sometime, somewhere will listen. Until then, we are called to be the hands, feet and voice of God in our world.

“But Micaiah said, ‘As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I will speak.’” (1 Kings 22:14 ESV.)

Copyright © 2012 by David Phelps